Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Most Ingenious Paradox!

Oh the Summer of 2010, what a wonderful summer in my life! In honor of this leap year I declare "Pirates of Penzance" day to be Febuary 29!  I was in the lead role of "The Major General" spent the entire summer (as most of you witnessed) sporting Mutton Chops and a kilt for this show!

For those of you who are nto familiar with the show (im sure you know the melody to at least a few of the songs) The story pivots around young Frederick a pirates apprentice who is out on his apprentiship on this his 21st Birthday.  Frederick tells of his love to his "pirate family" and now that he is a free upstanding citizen he is duty bound to destroy them for their craft. The pirates in fear wave him of to a beach where Frederick discovers a "bevy of beautiful madiens" and falls in love with Mable "the plainest and rarest of them all". Not long after the girls father The Major General comes into play, when the pirates swoop down on the picnicing party and treat to steal them away.  The Major genral lies saying "I am an Orphan Boy" (as the Pirates let all who are orphans go, as they are orphans themselves.) Frederick is betrothed to Mable and all is going swimmingly until the Pirate King returns with a "paradox". Frederick was born in leap year, he has been alive 21 year, however technically since he WAS born in leap year he is "a little boy of 5" (game changer, I know!) So now the tables are turned and Fred must rejoin the pirates as he is bound by his 21 Birthday.  It is then that Fred tells the Pirate king about the Major Generals lie, and all theatrical HELL breaks loose! The blood thirsty Pirates return to the Major Generals Castle where they plan to seek reenge for the deed.  Meanwhile Frederick has warned Mable of the coming danger and she tells her father and a band of Police men are hidden in the shaddows to capture the Pirates. The Pirates move with "Cat Like Tread" (while making as MUCH noise as humanly possible.) A great battle breaks out and just when all is lost a vital secret is revealed, all of the Pirates are former nobilty gone astray. If they promsie to spot being pirates and pick up being noble men again they can marry the Generals daughters (all 10 of them) So in two lines everything is fixed and a happy ending is had by all!

Oh Gilbert & Sullivan - It's terribly British!
Happy 29th Everyone!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Prep Time!

(So close to finishing three different sets of Pyrex!)
*  *  *
Well Readers, it was the "Home Improvement Weekend from Hell" but a lot has been going on at the Casablanca in prep for the 2012 social season. One of the biggest projects was fixing the west end of the Kitchen floor. A floor joist had started bowing out and was starting to lay over, which is no good for the floor boards resting on it.
(See the boards resting inside the crack at the bottom?)
(Yeah, that stuffs not good...)
It took Dad and I about three hours to jack up the side of the house and replace the crumbling stone with cinder blocks, so that now the floor joist rests on them instead of bowing outward. It was tough work digging dirt and rocks out from under the house, but it was worth it! Now the kitchen floor is sturdy, and safe. I was running around in circles, if I wasn't touching up paint in the living room, I was picking up sticks out in the yard. With all the other projects I had going on the house was, well...
(Needless to say it was a hot mess,with company on the way!)
(Friends Bryson, Russ, Evelyn, Michael, Joe &Pam)
 Yup a full house of close friends for an Italian dinner! As Evelyn, Joe and Michael arrived was just about the time I was discovering that a sink pipe had broken and the drain was running water into the wall. Thankfully Dad kept a cool head while I went to freaking out! After the problem was temporarily resolved (and my blood pressure came way,, WAY down) we ate heartily and and had a bit of a "nostalgic moment". While we were all sitting around chatting and eating "I Love Lucy" was playing on the TV in the Den when Joe looked up and said with a grin- "It's just like being in the 1950's, a family dinner in the 1950's."


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Coasting Through

You may recall  these awesome "spongy coasters" I scored while on Christmas Vacation. Well they were a dream come true, original box, all there, little holder was perfect and not bent or rusted but Ho wait... the "spongy" part of the coasters was dry rotted.  Well I finally got a few minuets to my self, and with Patricia's help we scooped off the rotting sponge and traced circles onto matching colors of felt. A few episodes of "Downton Abbey" and rubber cement later and viloa!
Good as new! They might even get some use this weekend, if I get to have company out at the Casablanca.
As Promised here are the Estate Sale finds from Saturday!  Bright and early Saturday morning Patricia and I got up to go estate saling with friend Joe, IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! All of us found something at some point that we simply couldn't live without. At one stop friend Joe (the Casablanca's resident voice coach and music teacher) was skeptical about my raiding the piano bench says "you know if they really were musicians they'd only keep the crap in the piano bench" to which I excited replied while digging through "I'll take that chance, Crap is fine with me." I think I found quite a few good scores...

Sheet Music wise I found:
My Fair Lady - "I could have danced all night."- 1974
Dubarry Was A Lady - "Friendship" by Cole Porter- 1939
"Easter Parade" by Irving Berlin - 1938
Along with 16 "Christmas Carol" books!

I snapped up the Christmas Carol books so fast! Haha they will most definitely get some use at this years 1958 Thanksmass Celebration! I also found this awesome red, never been used composition note book that I jumped all over (as I hope to be in a show set in a 1950's high school later this year.) The grand total of all this you might wonder?  Well thanks to girlfriend Patricia and her first time wheeling and dealing with the estate sale check out line got all you see in the above picture for $5.20!!! Smooth, let me tell you the girl is smooth! (And she learned it from me! Haha!)

So Readers come on over I'll pour you a beverage on which you can coast, and play you some Cole Porter...


Monday, February 20, 2012


I was looking at some picture from the early days of the kitchen at the Casablanca, and I noticed that the set up/ display I have around the kitchen shelves is nearly the same as it was six years ago. At one time I tried to keep things the same to be "Iconic" but after six years of having things in the same spot, it was a little stale, and sometimes changing things up is necessary.
 (Mom's "San Francisco House - cookie jar")
Mostly things have been moving around in the kitchen. As I was telling Patricia, the kitchen has come a LONG way in the last two years.  I brought the cookie jar home, because as i mentioned in an earlier post we always forget we have cookies in it. So the "penguin warmer" took its place.
Well all was well until I got frustrated at the lack of counter space by the stove. (As I have it piled with two boxes of tiles and a ton of other junk) The main problem being my Grandmothers 1946 Hamilton Beach mixer, the annoying fact it was an inch to tall to fit under the bottom counter.... So I moved things again.
 What Luck! The shelf is just the exact width and height to store the mixer. So it now has a new home, and speaking of new, I found this great (St Charles I think) glass cabinet that I have no room for, but at $10 who cares! I wanted to put it over the stove, but it wouldn't work.
But in order to be able to use the shelf seriously cuts down on the stove top room...
I love the glass doors on the cabinet, I just wish I'd found two of them!
Oh well, maybe I'll find a place for it in time!

I'll have to share with you all of the weekend Estate sale finds on Wednesday!

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Excited and Fickle... Thats Me!

Well readers, so Exciting News!
I don't want to give it a big build up until i'm standing in it, BUT it looks like Casablanca will be getting an addition this year!
The situation started last year during our social season, the Casablanca saw a HUGE rise in member's and by the time Thanksmass rolled around we had a full house! As you can see from the above picture we were busting the "Grand Dining Room" at its seams.  So my good friend and Master Carpenter at the theatre Larry jokingly said "Lets add another 10 feet onto the house as I took the picture. And Readers, that's just what we've planned to do!

The new addition will be somewhere from 10-12 feet wide and 24 feet long and drastically change the house-scape. If all goes according to plan construction should begin in May of this year.  The new room will have double duty, for 364 days of the year it will act as a living room and be magically transformed into dining room for Thanksmass!
As I'm leaving the construction of the room up to Larry and his son Bryson  (aside from telling them i'd like this, that, and the other) And I KNOW I shouldn't be picking paint colors until, ya know... the studs are up... but none the less i've got colors on the brain and how they are going to change the layout of the house. Until now, i've tried to stick to period but manly colors like...
(Turquoise Blue my favorite, in the Den/Bedroom)
(Chartreuse Green in the Kitchen)
(Lemon Yellow in the Lounge)
Obviously I'm all about color, and up till now (girl friends past and present included) I've kept the fourth of these vintage colors at bay...Coral, which brings us back to here...
(Joan Holloway's Apartment on Mad Men)
 This picture really isn't the best, but her living room/ dining room is coral pink. In fact its the only time I've ever really like the color and I'm not 100% it isn't just because of the show haha!  But if pink is my only option on the vintage color palate, it will provably end up being a light shade of coral.

Unless any of you can offer up alternate color choices? 

Anybody? ...Please?


Monday, February 13, 2012

Baby It's COLD Outside!

(Guilty as Charged.)
Well readers, for an early Valentines day Present Patricia and I took each other to the Bowie Trade Days flea market in Bowie Texas!  We left out bright and early Saturday morning in hopes of finding Puppies and Pyrex.
(A North Texas Sunrise, circa 8:09 A.M.)
As we motored toward Bowie hash browns and coffee in hand, we noticed something... the car  thermometer said 22 DEGREES! "That can't be right, it was 60 yesterday... I'll roll down the window and chec- WOOOOOOSHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! ... YUP its 22 degrees. But Bowie onward we went! Finally we arrived at  the flea grounds around 9:30 A.M. 
(Freezing but still radiant.)
We headed for the "animal" section of the flea market first, in hopes of finding a Corgi Puppy for Patricia. -No such luck, so we'll try again in March. There really wasn't much open to cold! What normally takes us two hours to stroll took about 30 minuets. The day was not without it's rewards!
(The finds!)
While perusing the booths of the flea market I spotted the 222 Pink Desert Dawn  brownie pan, and got it for a STEAL of $2.00.  We saw some other things, but nothing that we couldn't live without and a few things we secretly hope will be there next month!
Saw this really neat lawn chair, I'm guessing form the 30's?  But the seat panels were cracked beyond repair, so a picture is all I took.  Because our flea Market walk only took 30 minuets, and we had traveled an HOUR we weren't about to just turn around and go home...
(Cue in Scenic Downtown Bowie Texas)
To escape the cold and feed our thrifting addiction we popped into all the little antique stores. One I highly recommend is is "lady bug Antiques" that's where I found the Turquoise Cinderella "Balloons" bowl. I snatched it up because I've only seen them in pictures, I was a little iffy when I found out it was $18.00 and it had a tiny chip in the handle. But none the less I carried it up tot he check out and "rediscovered" the ship at the lady was checking me out, and she was nice enough to give me a 10% discount on the price! SOLD! I think the chip and dip bracket I got for Christmas will work on this set so now I need to find the "dip" bowl.  
I also picked up a Helpful Hints book by Heloise dated 1962, It  gave great advice and it was strange to see how outdated some of it was. (It had a chapter aimed directly for "The Help") It's already paid for the $3.00 I paid for it, it gave me great tips on cleaning out the closet!

It was a frosty weekend, but a fun one. Hope all your hauls were happy ones!


Friday, February 10, 2012

The Music Man!

Ah, The first set project of the 2012 Wichita Theatre season! Not only did we have a show going up, but massive renovations going on at the theatre. None the less in the grand tradition of Theatre the show went on!

My Projects included...
Two Train 1910 Train Cars,
The Interior of Paroo Home,
The Interior of the Library,
A Foot Bridge,
Along with all manner of vintage props and furniture.

Meridith Wilson's "The Music Man" begins on a train headed for River City Iowa July 4th 1912.
(The Rocky Island Express)
Because there was a crunch for time, we reused the "train sets" from White Christmas. The seats you see on the car, are out of the Balcony of the Wichita and date to 1939.  Being my specialty, I used several paint effects to create a early 1900's "express" travel car. My favorites being the "wear" on the lower wainscot, the "toughed fabric" on the upper wall and the effect of "motion" painted in the windows.
The end result is a well worn train car!

*  *  *

The Paroo House

Provably my favorite of the sets. (as it was the only one that turned out how I planned and expected.)  fairly simple, painted to look like period wall paper.
After the "wall paper had dried" I added a few Victorian silhouettes.
I will say the stand out pieces of this set are the blue velvet Loveseat/Settee and the upright piano! The Settee is on loan from a great antique store across the street from the Theatre "Ally Cat"
This was that one "I must have it" signature 'makes all the difference' piece I'm famous for. its so ornate, and period it makes me giddy!  However not to be out shined was the renovation of the Upright Piano.
 (What we wanted to do with it...)
 Actually this Piano is a veteran of the Wichita, its been in several productions and BELIEVE ME it showed. The front legs had snapped off (because the casters were not meant for frequent stage travel). The wood was in bad shape, and the keys yellowed beyond belief !

(Jordan googling "how to whiten piano keys" and Bryson revamping the legs.)
The old supports for the caster were pretty much nonexistent  at this point.  After jumping up and down yelling "TAKE A SAW TO IT!" on my part much debate, Bryson  decied the best way would be to add new footing supports made out of 2x4's to support the Piano. 

A couple screws later and a good furniture polishing all over and the piano was looking good as new. (its now one of my favorite in house props) and with 3 inch ball bearing casters it can glide all over stage with out a snag or fear of breaking! 
 (Jordan, Jeremy and Myself scrubbing the piano keys with toothpaste)
Look ma, no cavities! I swear 30 people most have walked by and said that as we covered and scrubbed the yellow keys. BUT believe it or not, the whitening toothpaste actually did help make the keys less yellow.

The Interior of the Madison Public Library
Let me say, this set was just helter-skelter. I can assure you readers that this is the first time the :Library" in a production "The Music Man" that it has had a "Spanish American revival" interior.  It started out with this idea of a Neo-gothic  Greek revival  Library interior with two double spiral staircases and a library ladder, with a huge stain glass window. and the only thing that made the final cut was the Window.
(Started with a base of white)
(Next painted the "light" primary colors of the window)
Darker colors painted on top of lighter to imitate real stained glass. Bryson stands next to it as an indicator of size. I am SO pleased with how it turned out, its gotten compliments all across the board with this piece.
(Contrary to popular belief, the "M" stands for 'Madison' not 'Mickey')
(Next we drew in the bookcases and books)
The began the tedious process of filling in the books and items on the shelves.
(Jennifer & Abby all 1912'ved up!) 
A  special thanks to cast member Jennifer A., She drew in books and came up with the most items on the shelves a globe, a stuffed owl, and a plaster bust of 'Aesop' (That cast member Kyle painted in beautifully!) The Library took so much time... so lets have a photo montage!
(-End Montage-)
Thanks to everyone in the pictures above who came and helped paint! It took a lot less time with all of us working together!

The Foot Bridge-
Seen here in a pink wash with the star curtain setting the mood.
Pretty simple 2x4" contstruction, a Special thanks to Larry, Bryson and "Coach" for putting it together.
I used a white base coat of paint, and while it was still wet blended in some medium brown with a sponge. to give it a "weathered" look. As a finishing touch I added two stings of white roses in bloom, its nice because in a lyric of the song "Till there was you" that takes place on the bridge Marion the Librarian sings-

"...And there was music,
And there were wonderful roses,
They tell me,
In sweet fragrant meadows of dawn, and dew."

*  *  *
All in all I have to say this has been a GREAT production.  I have enjoyed working with the cast and crew, and of course owe a huge thank you's to my faithful set dressing team (all featured in pictures above). For reason out of my hands I don't think I did justice to this shows over all feeling and period correct details, however I am very pleased with the outcome of my work.  I've had a lot of fun working with everyone in the cast and made some new friends along the way, so chalk another one up to success! It's also just amazing to think that this show is set 100 years ago in1912- and here we are in 2012. Its just mind boggling!